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"He that repenteth and exerciseth faith," Alma 26:17-22

Alma 26:17-22

Verses 17-20 are excellent study in mercy! Ammon recalls here conditions from which God "snatched" them out of their "awful, sinful, and polluted state." The wonder and amazement that accompanies such mercy, when judgment appears to be the proper and prescribed form of action, is illustrated here as well. "...Why did he not let the sword of his justice fall upon us, and doom us to eternal despair?" (vs. 19) Finally in verse 20, the affirmation or knowledge that Ammon had obtained of the reality of God's mercy: "Behold... in his great mercy hath brought us over that everlasting gulf of death and misery, even to the salvation of our souls."

Then in verse 21, Ammon poses a sobering question: "What natural man is there that knoweth these things?" His answer is both surprising and reassuring to me: "there is none that knoweth these things, save it be the penitent." Not the humble, not the pure, not the grateful -- of all the Christlike attributes that Ammon could have used to describe the contrast to the natural man, he chose "the penitent." Repentance is the key to overcoming the natural man.

I've made a discover in my recent studies on repentance, and it should not surprise me, but repentance frequently in the Book of Mormon is connected to faith in Jesus Christ.

Now in the next verse, faith in Christ is implied instead of being directly stated. It reads, "Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing--" (vs. 22) In whose name do we pray, exercise faith, or perform good works? Yes, it is implied here.

But consider the following:
  • "...if it so be that they repent and come unto him." (1 Nephi 10:18)
  • "...for the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel." (2 Nephi 30:2
  • "Therefore if that man repenteth not, and remaineth and dieth an enemy to God..." (Mosiah 2:38
  • "...and if he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and I will forgive him also." (Mosiah 26:29
  • "For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord;" (Mosiah 27:24
  • "Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you." (Alma 5:33)
  • "Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness." (Alma 7:14)
  • "...Nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became... a time to prepare to meet God;" (Alma 12:24)
  • "You must repent... even until ye shall have faith in Christ..." (Helaman 5:41
  • "Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God... therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved." (3 Nephi 9:22)
This is more than just a mere belief in some distant, saving influence; what accompanies true repentance is the birth of an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior. Consider verse 22 in this context then:
Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance.
The connectedness of missionary work and one's own personal repentance and faith in Jesus Christ is marvelously illustrated here. Nay, without experiencing this holy religion for one's self it is impossible to share it others. You cannot share what you do not have.

But it is the promise, or the assurance of these things that are given to those that repent, exercise faith, bring forth good works and pray continually without ceasing -- these are they that are promised to be laden with sheaves. These are they that are promised to become instruments for repentance.

The reality of this promise seems so real to me this morning as I review this.